April 11, 2013 8:19 am
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Flags left flying anger residents in mixed estate

Flags erected at the Brook

RESIDENTS of a mixed housing estate in Enniskillen have contacted the ‘Herald’ about flags going up in their area, and left flying.

They want them taken down, but it seems that no one wants to grasp the nettle.

A PSNI spokesman told the Herald: “It can be a difficult and emotive one to resolve to the satisfaction of all parties.”

And, what of Roads Service?

Its spokesman stated: “Where a flag/emblem is causing tension or is having a detrimental affect on the quality of life in a community, the police is the lead agency.

“Where there has been agreement to remove flags, Roads Service will provide equipment and resources. In doing so, Roads Service has to take account of the possible risk to its workers in removing flags and emblems.”

A Fermanagh councillor agreed ‘it is a problem’, and went on: “Nobody will touch them. They are on Roads Service property and street lights, but they will not touch them, and we will not touch them. It’s down to the community in conjunction with the police, but the chances of that being done are very slight.”

However, all that doesn’t cut much ice with a young mother who contacted the Herald about flags going up in a mixed estate in Enniskillen where she lives.

“We have them the whole way down. They must be here for the past 4-5 days. I wouldn’t mind: if I wanted to see flags, I would move down to Kilmacormick or Coleshill where you normally see them flying.

“But, to bring them into a mixed estate, where we all get on, it is very intimidating, and it’s very tacky-looking. It just leaves everybody in a very awkward situation.”

Lauri McCusker, the director of Fermanagh Trust, told the Herald that his organisation had a solution, ‘if people would grasp it’.

“People just have to have a willingness to grasp it. Somebody will have to take the lead, and Fermanagh District Council, for one, has an obligation under its community relations remit to support and develop positive community relationships. They have to look at it and bring in all the agencies and set protocols.”

The Roads Service spokesperson, explained that, under the Roads (Northern Ireland) Order, 1993, it can remove ‘obstructions’, and he confirmed there is a multi agency protocol in place to address the issue of the display of flags in public areas.

“It aims to provide a proactive approach, with support from communities and their representatives, to address the removal of flags from arterial routes, town centres and from particular locations such as interface areas, near schools, hospitals and churches.

“The protocol requires widespread community support, and this is widely recognised as the most effective resolution to the issues surrounding flags and emblems.

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